Free Chocolate Brownies Essay Sample
Chocolate Brownies are small baked chocolate cakes named for their brown color. The recipe of chocolate brownies came from the United States. There are many versions and myths about the way brownies were first made. One of them tells that melted chocolate was spilled accidentally into biscuit dough. Another myth says that a housewife from Maine forgot to put baking powder to her chocolate cake and it did not rise properly. As a result, she decided to cut it into flat pieces to serve. One more version says that the recipe was invented in Chicago and was made for ladies to put in their lunch boxes on the Columbian Exposition at the Palmer House in 1892.
At any rate, even though the actual inventor of the dessert is still unknown, the first printed recipe of brownies appeared in the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer in 1896. This was also the first printed use of the word ‘brownie’. Afterwards, the recipe began to appear in numerous other cookbooks and started to gain popularity among housewives all around the US, with chocolate and cocoa becoming more available for people. Currently, brownies are widespread in the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe. They are usually served hot with ice cream, milk, coffee, or whipped cream.
In order to make a homemade copy of chocolate brownies and compare it with those sold in supermarkets, the list of ingredients should be examined and analyzed. To create the recipe, the list was composed basing on the careful research and flavor analysis. The products used to make the homemade product were simpler than those used in the sold product, and the list did not include artificial flavorings and coloring agents. Subsequently, the appearance and taste of the homemade product were compared to that of the original one, and the differences and similarities were revealed.
Discussion of Ingredients
The list of ingredients for chocolate brownies has such basic ingredients as cocoa powder,sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, and butter. Diary products, nuts, or small candies can also be added to the recipe. Further, the ingredient list of Petite Brownie Bites will be discussed.
Enriched flour was used cooking the cakes. Flour is usually received from different types of grains, such as wheat, rice, corn, buckwheat, among others. There are various kinds of flour also depending on what parts of these grains are used in the milling process. Thus, there are all-purpose, whole wheat, instant, gluten and gluten-free flour (Whole Grain Council, n.d.). The enriched flour used for the Petite Brownie Bites is the refined flour that has nutrients added to it in order to make its nutritional qualities better and similar to the unrefined product. The added nutrients include riboflavin, folic acid, and iron. Using this kind of flour makes the derived product softer and tastier; however, its major drawback is the absence of fiber, which is extremely useful for a human organism. Thus, in order to make brownies better for health, it is advised to use whole-wheat flour instead of the enriched one.
The next major ingredient is sugar, which is used as a natural sweetener. Most probably, the manufacturer used white sugar, which is the most common form of this product. Usually, it is derived from cane or beet and is later refined. The next ingredient from the list, which is soybean oil, is received from soybeans and used mostly in manufacturing margarine. It contains much polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Water is also found among the ingredients of Petite Brownie Bites. It is used in baking for various purposes, such as hydrating proteins in the flour and helping other ingredients dissolve. Palm oil, the next ingredient, is high in saturated fat. It is often used in bakery as a cheaper substitute for butter. Its use is still debated since many people claim it to be unhealthy. Namely, some researches reveal that consuming palm oil is related to cardiovascular diseases and other health risks. Therefore, it is better to use butter instead.
Of course, there should be cocoa in the ingredient list of brownies. Cocoa powder is derived from fermented and dried cocoa beans. It is used in the recipe to give the brownies rich chocolate flavor and brown color. Since chocolate and cocoa were not as widespread at the beginning of the 20th century as it is now, in the early recipes of brownies, molasses was used instead. The next ingredient is corn syrup, which is usually made of corn starch. It is a sweet and thick syrup that can be either dark or light. The dark one has a richer flavor. It is often used in bakery, as well as in cooking candies and jams as a sweetener, which is cheaper than sugar. It also maintains the freshness of the product and works as a thickener. The ingredient list has cornstarch, as well, which is also used as a thickening agent giving a lighter and fluffier structure to the batter.
The next ingredient, dried egg whites, is often used in manufacturing cakes. They replace whole eggs due to being cheaper and having a longer shelf life. However, whole eggs are considered to be a healthier product and it is advised to use them. Soy lecithin is used as an emulsifier, stabilizer and a preservative. Salt is required for better flavor in this recipe. Natural flavoring are also added to the brownies. In addition, the ingredient list says that the brownies may contain milk and tree nuts, which is the important information for people who are allergic to nuts or have lactose intolerance.
Recipe Adjustments and Comparison
In order to create the recipe for homemade chocolate brownies, some ingredients were removed or replaced in favor of health benefits. For example, no artificial flavorings, colorings, hydrogenated oils, or preservatives were added. Whole wheat flour was used instead of enriched flour since it contains fiber, which is good for health. Palm oil was replaced with more expensive but better tasting and healthier butter, and whole eggs were used instead of dried eggs. The ingredient list also included cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. The homemade brownies did not contain milk or nuts. The dough for chocolate brownies was kneaded by hand, without using a mixer.
Logically, due to the absence of preservatives, the homemade brownies had a much shorter shelf life. After several days, the homemade cakes got stale while Petite Brownie Bites looked unaltered. The fresh homemade product could be cut very easily and did not crumble. It had a nice texture. The taste of the fresh homemade product was much better than that of the purchased one. One of the reasons for that was replacing palm oil with butter. As a result, they turned out to be softer and had a richer chocolate flavor. In addition, the homemade version turned out to be better for health than Petite Brownie Bites due to the bigger amount of nutrients, such as fiber in flour, proteins and other vitamins in butter and in whole eggs.
Even though these brownies did not have such a long shelf life as Petite Brownie Bites did, their taste and nutritional qualities improved. Along with that, the taste of fresh bakery cannot be compared to that purchased in a store. It is also advised to use the recipe of homemade brownies for those who are allergic to nuts or have lactose intolerance. For such people, it is always better to cook at home in order to avoid possible issues happening in case the manufacturer did not specify that the product contains ingredients dangerous for them.
As a result, the homemade product turned out to be better than the original one due to several reasons. First of all, it had a better taste and a richer flavor. Secondly, it did not contain artificial flavorings, colorings, preservatives, or other unwholesome ingredients. Thirdly, it was adjusted for people with allergy to nuts.
Exhibit 1. Secondary Recipes Used to Create the Final Recipe
Chocolate Brownies (Original recipe from the cookbook, 1896)
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup Porto Rico molasses
- 1 egg well beaten
- 7/8 cup bread flour
- 1 cup pecan meat cut in pieces
Mix ingredients in order given. Bake in small, shallow fancy cake tins, garnishing top of each cake with one-half pecan.
Bangor Brownies (recipe from the beginning of the 20 th century)
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 squares chocolate
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup broken walnuts meats
Spread thin in buttered pans. Cut before cold.
Exhibit 2. Final recipe of Chocolate Brownies
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup flour
Mix sugar, melted butter and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time. Whisk the batter well. Add cocoa powder and flour to the dough and stir it very well by hand.
The oven should be preheated to 350 degrees. Grease a baking pan with butter or vegetable oil. Put the batter into it and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When the cake is ready, let it cool a little. Further, when it is still warm, cut it into small square pieces. Serve with vanilla ice cream, milk, or coffee.
This recipe makes nine servings of chocolate brownies. The preparation of the batter takes about 15 minutes. Thus, the overall preparation and baking time of the chocolate brownies by this recipe is around 45 minutes.